Nicolet National Bank Senior Spotlight: Maddax Shinners – De Pere football, basketball, track and field
By Rich Palzewic
DE PERE – De Pere senior Maddax Shinners was a big reason the boys’ basketball team came within an eyelash at making a trip to the WIAA Division 1 state tournament.
Now Shinners said he’s hoping his success on the hardwood will help lead the Redbirds football team on the gridiron.
“I had a blast this past basketball season,” said Maddax, the son of Angela and John Shinners. “We seniors were grateful to have a season with all the unknowns of COVID-19. It was heartbreaking the way it ended (in the sectional finals). I think if we had played (River Falls) at our house, we win by 10.”
De Pere held a late lead, only to see River Falls hit a late 3-pointer to win, 53-52.
“We had a nice seeding in sectionals, and (basketball) coach (Brian) Winchester said this was our year,” Shinners said. “At first, I didn’t believe him, but our chemistry got better as the season went on.”
Shinners also ran track his freshman and sophomore year and said he probably will this year as well.
But first, De Pere is playing football this spring after opting out last fall due to COVID-19.
The Redbirds begin the season Friday, March 26, when they host Green Bay Southwest.
“It’s cold outside for practice,” Shinners laughed. “I’m not a fan of the weather. Practice is different, but it’s competitive. We have to keep our masks on and practice social distancing, but it’s still football. We’re excited to play – it’s been 18 months since we’ve played.”
An only child, he’ll be playing football at Division II Minnesota State University Moorhead.
At 6-foot-3, Shinners will be playing wide receiver for the Dragons.
He plans to study biology and eventually advance into the medical field.
He also plays safety on defense for De Pere.
Shinners said two memorable moments stand out in his high school career.
“Last year, when we beat Bay Port in basketball at their house, that was exciting,” he said. “It was mine and (teammate) Will Dehn’s birthday. The locker room after the game was nuts. I also had a breakaway dunk against Appleton North in sectionals this season in front of our students. I’ve been waiting to do that for a long time.”
He said his most embarrassing moment made his football coach, Chad Michalkiewicz, a little upset.
“Again, it was against Bay Port (in 2019),” Shinners said. “That whole game was an embarrassment, but that was the best team I’ve ever played against. I told coach, ‘I’m open on the fade.’ He trusted me and called the play. The next play was a fade out and our quarterback threw me a perfect ball, and I had the cornerback beat by five yards. The ball went right through my hands – coach was pretty upset.”
He said Michalkiewicz has helped him a lot through life.
“It’s fun playing for him,” said Shinners. “He and I have a good connection and can joke around but also be serious. He’s a great leader. He’s taught me lots of things about being a good man, person and leader.”
Shinners’ dad is from Hartford and is a former NFL offensive lineman, who played nine seasons combined for the New Orleans Saints, Baltimore Colts and Cincinnati Bengals.
“My dad went to Xavier University when they had football,” Shinners said. “He was a first-round draft pick. My mom is from De Pere and went to Alverno College. She’s a great singer and dancer.”
Shinners said if he could give up his athletic ability and trade it for being a really good musician, he’d probably do it.
“I’d love to be able to play the piano,” he said.
He’d like to be remembered as a great athlete, a good person to others, a good listener, being good to his teachers and a good student.
Shinners likes steak, the phone app Snapchat, the restaurant The Cheesecake Factory and the Avenger movies.